In an instant

Last night, my head was preoccupied with last-minute work on a special project and putting the finishing touches on a post. My husband Tom and I had also been discussing the logistics of possibly attending BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco. These were the things that weighed on my mind.

A mere hour or so later—an instant, really—we were outside, in our shirts and shorts, watching our house crumble as it was engulfed in flames. I’ll never forget that hissing and crackling noise as my husband’s home of almost 30 years practically disintegrated before our eyes.

But we were safe. All of us. Our son Tim, without hesitation, ran back inside when he realized his grandmother was sleeping upstairs. By the time he got to her, it was too late to try and exit the house the same way he came in. Fortunately, Tom had devised a fire escape plan years ago, and Tim was able to bodily carry his feeble 82-year-old grandmother out the window, onto the roof, and eventually down on the deck. The sight of this brave son of mine carrying his grandmother as he ran down the lawn and away from the house is one I will never forget.

Tropical Beach Ceviche

ivoryhut tropical beach ceviche

Ceviche is basically raw seafood “cooked” in an acid such as vinegar or citrus. We call it kilawin in Tagalog and it is a popular dish in the Philippines. Our cuisine is rich in seafood and understandably so, with over 7,000 islands and the fourth longest coastline in the world (our 22,500+ miles of coast is almost double that of the US). And so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are as many versions of ceviche as there are different ways of making adobo.

So when I saw a tweet from Chef Rick Bayless a few weeks ago that read like some mysterious secret code that looked like ceviche, I took notice.

Crazy Pizza Bread

ivoryhut crazy pizza bread Lindsay Olives

When Rachael of Fuji Mama asked me if I’d be interested in developing a recipe for Lindsay Olive’s Back-To-School Challenge, I immediately said yes. See, at first all I heard was “Rachael…Fuji Mama…Lindsay Olives…” and of course, at some point someone mentioned food. What was there to think about? I love Rachael, I love olives, and olives are food. It was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned.

Then, of course, the whole “challenge” part of the deal suddenly started sinking in. For one, it’s a back-to-school theme. Which means kids. Kids who might start crying if they open up their lunchbox and find something they really don’t want to eat. And as much as I love olives now, I wasn’t a big fan of them when I was a kid. Growing up, I had great appreciation for recipes that disguised the olives. I could not, for the life of me, understand how my mom could snack on olives and appear to enjoy them without gagging.


The last two weeks have seen me busier than I’ve ever been in a long time. From a weekend beach wedding shoot to re-designing my blog to a little potluck that we put together, I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone write.

While the never-ending activities have left me with a deficit of words, what I do have is a surplus of photos. And I’d really love to show you some photos from the wedding but that’ll come later. The bride gets first dibs on seeing the shots.

Instead, I’m going to show you photos of that wee little event we organized: the Big Summer Potluck. The wonderful Anderson family of Three Many Cooks graciously welcomed everyone to their beautiful home for this event. I am told that I spoke a bit about photography, and that I might have even made a little sense. My mom was in attendance, bless her, and although I figured it was for moral support, something tells me that she was there to block all exits in case I decided to make a run for it.

Corn with coconut milk (Ginataang mais)

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

When this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club theme was announced, I was incredibly excited. The theme was gata, which is Filipino for coconut milk. Anything made with coconut milk was fair game, and the posts so far have covered both savory and sweet bases. With the wealth of choices available, I expected to be overwhelmed by the task of choosing just one. However, my mind pretty much made itself up for me early on, and despite my attempts to steer it toward more creative lines, it stubbornly held on to its first choice.

about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

If you want to learn more about me, here are 43 things I'd like to do. Here's a little something about my name, in case you were wondering. Here are some other places you'll find me:

facebook pageflickrtwittertasty ktichenrss feedcontact me
The Ivory Hut: My Quick and Easy Chicken Adobo

Chicken adobo is the Filipino dish most people are familiar with. Here's my quick and easy version that requires minimal prep work and only one pan. Perfect for busy weeknights.

The Ivory Hut: Homemade Nutella Baking Chips

Yes, I made my own chocolate chips. Nutella chocolate chips, to be exact. Then I made cookies. Lots of cookies.

Subscribe by email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.